Hot Docs fest ‘Comfort’able

Pic about ovarian cancer victim wins top 2 trophies

TORONTO — U.S. filmmaker Kate Davis’ transsexual love story “Southern Comfort” took the top two prizes at the weeklong Hot Docs Intl. Documentary Festival, which wrapped Sunday.

Winner of the doc grand jury prize at Sundance in January, “Southern Comfort” took Hot Docs’ first audience award while the jury tapped it best international documentary. Docu follows the final year in the life of Robert Eads, a Georgia transsexual who succumbed to ovarian cancer after doctors refused him treatment.

British director Leo Regan’s look at former neo-Nazis, “100% White,” was runner-up for international doc.

Top prize for the National Spotlight Program, which this year was trained on the Nordic countries, went to “Vision Man,” Sweden-based filmmaker William Long’s portrait of an aging Inuit hunter.

Canuck arts documentarian Larry Weinstein took the director award for his film on the life of French composer Maurice Ravel, “Ravel’s Brain.”

Tied for first documentary were Daniele Arbid’s “Alone With War,” and “Living Afterwards,” from Laurent Becue-Renard, both from France.

Canadian Mathew Welsh’s “Breakaway — A Tale of Two Survivors,” about the relationship between two brain-injury survivors, took the humanitarian award.

“My Left Breast,” director Gerry Rogers’ video diary of her experience with breast cancer, won the award for best Canadian docu. Runner-up was Shelley Saywell’s “Out of the Fire,” a portrait of photographer Fanya Schulman and her reunion with fellow WWII Russian resistance fighters.

Veteran documentarian Don Haig received a special achievement award for his work on nearly 500 films.